Archive for October, 2012
Tune in Thursday am for Be My Guest with Betsy’s Bits
In the NBA, one of the most anticipated showdowns of the 2012/2013 NBA season… didn’t happen. The New York Knicks were scheduled to take on the brand new Brooklyn Nets at the $1 billion dollar Barclays Center. This was supposed to be Game 1 of a rivalry that would span at least the next 50 years, and for the first time the Knicks have a rival in their backyard. That puts pressure on them to win from a financial and an ego standpoint, because if the Nets out perform them, then Brooklyn, not Manhattan, could become the hottest (and coolest ticket in town). But, on account of all the storm damage and closures to mass transit, New York mayor Mike Bloomberg declared that the game be postponed to a later date. It’s just too dangerous for people to try and get to the stadium, and the tone of the game doesn’t exactly feel appropriate at this point.
And out west, the Golden State Warriors have signed their star point-guard Stephen Curry to a 4-year extension worth $11 million per year. Curry came into the league with high promise, and the Warriors were thrilled when he slipped all the way to them. Curry has been fantastic in what we’ve seen of him, so much so that they even decided to ship one of their best players out of town (Monta Ellis) and officially hand the keys over to Curry. Problem is… Curry has been battling injuries and has missed a substantial amount of time. Now, the Warriors feel its time to make the leap, feeling they have the right clientele to do so — a strong front court with David Lee and Andrew Bogut, and a young, hot new rookie in Harrison Barnes. Having Curry run that ship is a smart move, and this could be the year that the Warriors finally make the playoffs (that is, if Curry stays healthy).
Finally, after all the controversy in Philly, it appears that Michael Vick’s starting job at quarterback is safe. This is notable, as the decision didn’t come in a super affirmative way (as in “Vick’s our starting quarterback and that’s that). No, this was a calculated decision, as at the last press conference, Andy Reid told the media that he would be evaluating all his quarterbacks and make a determination. The fact that he’s sticking with Vick is a sign of confidence in the star athlete, but mostly, probably a safe bet. If Reid were to go with Foles, Vick would likely lose all confidence, and if Foles stinks, then that could send the organization into a bizarre place the rest of the season, as Foles won’t get the assurance of his head coach (likely we’d see Vick the following week if Foles didn’t play up to par) and they would be caught in purgatory the rest of the year: Vick or Foles?No comments
WATERCOOLER CHAT: OPENING NIGHT IN THE NBA…HEAT JELLING, NEW LOOK LAKERS NEED HELP, TY LAWSON EMERGES
It was opening night in the NBA, and that meant that LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the Miami Heat would get their Championship Rings. Then, they got to take on their heated rival: The Boston Celtics. Except this time, the Heat had one of the Celtics former knights: Ray Allen. Before the game, Ray Allen patted Kevin Garnett on the back, but Garnett (seemingly a rival) pretended like he didn’t even know Allen. Apparently, something must have gone down. And from that point on, it was all Heat. Dwayne Wade had 29 points, LeBron had 26, and the Heat seemed to win with ease. This team is jelling well right from the get go, and they’re on a mission to get right back to the Finals. Miami 120, Boston 107.
The other main game of the night was the Dallas Mavericks vs. the new-look Los Angeles Lakers. Remember, the Lakers now boast 5 potential hall-of-famers in their starting line-up (Kobe, Metta World Peace, Paul Gasol, Dwight Howard, and Steve Nash). With a line-up that good, you have to just assume they’re the favorite in the west, especially since the Thunder broke up their nucleus, sending James Harden to the Houston Rockets. So how would the Lakers fare? They would take on a Mavericks team that is currently without Dirk Nowitzki. And even without Dirk, the Mavs held their own just fine. Their new point guard Darren Collison had 17 points, and had the Mavs looking pretty solid. The Lakers, on the other hand, looked a little discombobulated. They definitely had some chemistry problems out there and will likely slowly improve as the season progresses. They couldn’t hang with the Mavs, and need to work on being a team that is good beyond being just good on paper. Dallas 99, LA Lakers 91.
And finally, there may be another emerging star on the horizon in Denver. The Denver Nuggets have handed their speedy point guard Ty Lawson a huge $48 million contract. Lawson was a huge surprise last year, eventually becoming the Nuggets starting point guard and making defenses dizzy with his lightning fast speed. Now, with the addition of Andrew Iguodala from Philly, the Nuggets will be a good defensive team as well as a team that scores at will. They will be able to outscore just about any other team in the league, and with Lawson playing with the confidence of a contract behind him, he’ll be in charge of what should be one of the most fun teams to watch in the league. Congratulations to Lawson.No comments
In the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons were coming out of their bye week hoping to stay undefeated. But it wouldn’t be easy, as they would have to steal a win from the Eagles in Philly — a place that’s always tough to win. However, we shouldn’t underestimate just how good the Falcons are this year (and, alternatively, how bad the Eagles have become). Matt Ryan was his Matt Ryan-self this game, tossing 3 touchdowns in the first half alone. Ryan would finish the game with 262 yards and 3 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Michael Vick had another bad game, and at this point, head coach Andy Reid has openly talked about benching Vick in favor of the rookie Nick Foles. Andy Reid’s job is on the line, and he needs to make the playoffs. Likely, he’s got a better shot of doing that with Vick, but Foles played well in pre-season and make be the future in Philly. Atlanta 30, Philadelphia 17.
Elsewhere, Cam Newton was hoping to turn the Panthers season around, but would have to do it against the red-hot and dangerous Chicago Bears. Newton had a better day than most this season, throwing for 314 yards, but he failed to throw a touchdown and also threw 2 picks, one of which was returned for a touchdown by the Bears defense. Then again, the Panthers did hold the lead for most of the game, but Jay Cutler brought the Bears back in the second half and a last second field goal from Bears kicker Robbie Gould would give them their fifth win in a row. The Bears look pretty good right now, and will be tough to take down. Chicago 23, Carolina 22.
And, in a new NFL tradition, one regular season game is played ever year in London. The NFL, like the NBA, is always trying to expand their reach overseas, and a game in London is the perfect way to do it. Then again, they’re competing with the absolute passion of the English Premiere Soccer League from the British fans. That’s why they send over Tom Brady and the Patriots to give them one of the United States’ biggest sports celebrities, and, of course, the Patriots offense is fun to watch. They took on the St. Louis Rams, but the Rams didn’t pose much of the threat. The Rams got out to a 7-0 lead, and that was the end of the Rams scoring day, as Tom Brady took over and just mopped the floor with them. Tom Brady finished the night with 304 yards and 4 touchdowns. Patriots owner Robert Kraft said that London could absolutely support an NFL team. The NFL may not be ready for that yet, as they still have to get a team in Los Angeles, but it’s good to know that the UK is ready for us. New England 45, St. Louis 7.No comments
In the World Series, it was Game 2 between the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants. The Giants took Game 1, but many people were worried about the Giants pitcher for Game 2: Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner’s number weren’t that great coming into the game, but he went out to the mound and pitched a marvelous Game for the Giants, giving up no runs through 7 innings. Given that the Tigers bats are pretty hot right now, that’s a remarkable feat. The Giants finally got their hitting right in the 7th inning, and with base-runners on, Brandon Crawford grounded into a double play, but still allowed a runner to score. Then, a sacrifice fly from Hunter Pence in the 8th gave the Giants a 2-0 lead, and that’s all they would need to take Game 2. Now, they’ve at least secured that the series will come back to San Francisco if need be, but a 2-0 lead in a World Series is a comfortable place to be. San Francisco 2, Detroit 0.
And in Thursday Night Football, it was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking on the surging Minnesota Vikings IN Minnesota. And when Minnesota actually has a strong team to root for, you can bet they will pack the stadium, especially with the rumors swirling that there’s a chance they could lose the Vikings franchise to Los Angeles (given that LA is building a football stadium). So how would it play out? Well, the Vikings didn’t count on Buccaneers running-back Doug Martin having his first breakout game. He rushed for 135 yards and 1 touchdown, and also had 79 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. The Buccaneers got off to a slow start this season, but now they seem to be clicking. Maybe they can turn things around and make a run at the playoffs. Bucs 36, Vikings 17
Finally, in the NBA, no need for rumors any more, it’s official: David Stern will retire as NBA Commissioner in 2014. He will turn the keys over to his current Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. Stern will officially retire on February 1st, 2014 — exactly 30 years after he took the position. David Stern is responsible for making the NBA what we currently know it is — a very lucrative league that has a huge impact on pop culture. Prior to Stern, the NBA was more stodgy. Stern was able to bring a certain degree of marketing to the game. He knew exactly how to leverage the Michael Jordan era to amplify the sport, and then spent a lot of resources the past 15 years attempting to make the league and the overall sport of basketball more popular internationally. Stern still has 15 months to go, but now we know what the future holds for the NBA.No comments
The New York Islanders are often an afterthought. They play in Long Island, New York (hence the name) and haven’t been competitive for over a decade. They’re essentially the Kansas City Royals of hockey. Except, the Islanders have the benefit of being in a major market, and now they’re taking a page out of the same book as the New Jersey Nets — they’re moving to Brooklyn in 2015. Brooklyn is fast becoming one of the most densely populated areas of New York City. But, in actuality, every area in New York just kind of bleeds into the next. Point is, it can support multiple sports franchises, and now “Brooklyn” will offer both a basketball and hockey option to compete with the main attraction in New York (The Knicks and The Rangers at Madison Square Garden). This is a smart move for the Islanders. However, long time Long Island natives who grew up with the team will be sad to see them leave.
Europe is in the midst of its Champions League, in which the best teams from all Europe’s Leagues compete. It’s a super popular event, as it gives the continent a chance for the leagues to merge. The best from the Premiership League, La Liga (Spain), and Italy’s best. But just Wednesday, some of the best teams in the world all got upset. Manchester City (Manchester United’s rival) fell, as did Real Madrid (one of the most talented teams in the world) and Aresenal. They all got toppled, which sent waves through the soccer world. However, with their defeat, comes an opportunity for an up-and-coming team to put themselves on the global map as a club not to be messed with.
Finally, Forbes magazine published an article of the ‘least liked’ players in the NFL. Given that the NFL isn’t exactly a ‘personality’ driven league on account of players wearing helmets, it’s hard to imagine who exactly would be on that list. Basically, in the NFL, you have to go out of your way to be disliked or to really rub the media the wrong way. There are two players who do that quite well, and they made it to the top of the list: Detroit Lions defensive end Ndamukong Suh and Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Suh made a name for himself with late hits to quarterbacks, and even stepping on a player last year, whereas Jay Cutler is constantly sour on the sideline, and even yells at his own players. That’s the kind of stuff that ESPN loves to replay about 500,000 times during the week, and it gets in the public’s mind that you are a ‘bad guy’. Being #1 and #2 on this list isn’t going to help their endorsement deals much.No comments
WATERCOOLER CHAT: SF GIANTS TO WORLD SERIES, CASSELL BENCHED, BRADSHAW’S INTENSITY, NO HOME FOR ARENAS
After a shaky start, the San Francisco Giants are headed to the World Series!!!! In a drubbing that threatened to get rained out, the Giants trounced the St. Louis Cardinals. The Giant’s Hunter Pence had one of the most entertaining moments of the night with his broken bat double play. Giants 9, Cardinals 0.
Stay tuned for the first game of the World Series. October 24th. Detroit at San Francisco. 8:07 pm ET.
In the NFL, coming off a bye week next week, the Chiefs will be looking to hopefully be a presentable team, one that doesn’t get smashed. The are a very discombobulated organization right now, and the easiest way to make a change that the public will notice is to switch up the starting quarterback. Everybody loves to blame the quarterback for the team’s woes (not considering the play-calling, defense, or offensive line), but it is the highest profile position and that comes with title. So the Cheifs are benching their starting quarterback and team captain Matt Cassell in favor of their back-up Brady Quinn. Quinn has had a rather lackluster NFL career so far and is on a one-year contract with the team, while Cassell is signed for a lucrative long-term deal and is also the team captain. Benching the team captain is a suspicious move, but they have to do what they have to do.
Elsewhere in the NFL, fans were wondering what happened in the heated exchange between Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and Giants running-back Ahmad Bradshaw. The two were seen yelling at each other on the sideline, and then the Giants running-back coach got in Bradshaw’s face and yelled at him as punishment. Well, as the air is clearing, it appears that the spat was over Bradshaw screaming at Coughlin to “Run The Ball!”. Clearly every back wants to “run the ball”, but, at the end of the day, it’s up to the coaching staff. Bradshaw also took heat for slapping wide receiver Victor Cruz hard on the back of the helmet. Apparently, this was because Bradshaw broke for a run, and thought that Cruz missed his block that would have led to more of a yardage gain. Giants tight end Martellus Bennett said that that’s just Ahmad being Ahmad — that he’s intense in the locker room, the steam room, at breakfast, everywhere really. Either way, the Giants still came away from that game with a win.
Finally, in the NBA, after 11 seasons in the NBA, it looks like there is no home for Gilbert Arenas. Arenas has had one of the most interesting careers. He was highly touted coming out of the University of Arizona, played a little in Golden State, until he established that he was an emerging star. The Washington Wizards paid him handsomely, and for roughly 3 seasons in the the middle of the last decade, Arenas was one of the best players in the NBA. He did stuff that even Kobe Bryant didn’t do. Arenas was also responsible for leading the Wizards to 3 consecutive playoff appearances, and even got them into the second round. Then, that horrible incident happened where he pulled a gun out in practice. He was suspended for the entire 2009/2010 season and then headed to Memphis where he was merely a bench role player. Now, nobody wants to sign him and he’s headed to China. This is more for the money than anything else, and it looks like the last step in a very mysterious career.No comments
In the NFL, after being trounced by the Packers on Monday Night Football last week, the Houston Texans were looking for redemption. Their chance would be against a banged up Baltimore Ravens team. From the get go, the Texans offense was firing on all cylinders. The Ravens couldn’t do anything against them, as the Texans did their best to pronounce that despite their lashing last week, they are still the team to beat in the AFC. Houston 43, Baltimore 13.
And in Tampa Bay, it was two teams that are desperately trying to turn their seasons around: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints. The Saints started the season 0-4, primarily because they lost their head coach on account of the suspension of the bounties placed on injuring other team’s offensive players. The Saints haven’t found their footing this season, but… they still have Drew Brees, and despite his hold out this off-season, he doesn’t appear to be missing any steps. Almost instantly, Drew Brees had 4 touchdown passes. They looked like the explosive Saints offense we’re accustomed to seeing year in and year out. The Buccaneers got an awesome day from Josh Freeman with 420 yards and 3 touchdowns of his own, but in the end the Saints took the win. They’re now 2-4, and will get Denver next Sunday night. New Orleans 35, Tampa Bay 28.
You can simply never say “It’s over”. The St. Louis Cardinals took a 3-1 lead in the series, and everybody pretty much wrote the San Francisco Giants off for dead. But, baseball is game-by-game. Win and you survive, and you never know what can happen in one game. Sunday, was Game 6, with the Cards up 3-2 in the series, but the Giants bats are red hot right now. And when a team has their backs against the wall, they don’t go down easy. In just two innings they had 5 runs, and the Cardinals would play the rest of the game trying to play catch up. But it wouldn’t be easy, as San Francisco’s Ryan Vogelsong had a career-high 9 strikeouts. Wow! The Giants hung on to take the game, giving us an incredibly exciting Game 7 Monday night! And you will be able to see it after the presidential debate! San Francisco 6, St. Louis 1.No comments
In the NFL, it was Thursday Night Football between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. These two teams have suddenly found themselves in a battle atop the NFC West (heck, this whole division is suddenly very competitive). So how would a match between two of the top defenses in the NFL shake out? Well, to no surprise, it was a very low scoring affair. The stars of the game were the two running backs, Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore, who both ran over 100 yards. But, in the end, it was a touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Delaine Walker that sealed the deal for the Niners. Now they’re sitting pretty in first place. San Francisco 13, Seattle 6.
It was Game 4 of the NLCS between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants. The Cards were looking to take a healthy lead in the series. Suddenly, the Cardinals have seriously found their mojo. This is a team with some post-season experience and know exactly how to win when it counts. That’s why it was no surprise as the Cardinals absolutely trounced the Giants. It was tied up until the 5th inning, but then the Cards bats got hot and they knocked in run after run, shellacking Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum. The Giants got a homer in the 9th to knock in two runs, but it simply wasn’t enough, and the Cardinals take a 3-1 lead. Even though it looks like the Cards are headed to the Series, you simply can’t count out anybody in baseball until it’s over. St. Louis 8, San Francisco 3.
Finally, in the American League, it was Game 4 of the ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers were looking for a sweep, and the Yankees were hoping to prove that their win over Baltimore wasn’t a complete fluke, because the Tigers have been murdering them in this series. C.C. Sabathia took the mound to try and save the season for the Yanks, but that wouldn’t phase the Tigers in the slightest. The Tigers hit 4 homers in the game, and never looked back. This team is on fire right now, and the Yankees proved that they may have gotten lucky against the Orioles the prior series, because their bats were ice cold. And with the win, the Detroit Tigers are headed back to the World Series. And this time, they intend to win it. Detroit 8, NY Yankees 1.No comments
It was Game 3 of the NLCS between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants. The series was tied at a game a piece, but now the red hot Cardinals, who just snuck into the playoffs, would host Game 3 of the series with the intent of taking the lead. This team is doing just fine without Albert Pujols this season, and wanted to show their home fans that they could get back to the World Series without him. The Giants got out to an early lead, but a 3rd inning home run by Matt Carpenter put the Cards in front and they would never look back. The Cards would take the win, and now the Giants seriously need their ace Tim Lincecum (who has struggled this season) to have a tremendous pitching day in Game 4. We’ll see if he can make it happen. St. Louis 3, San Francisco 1.
And in the NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves are hoping that this is the season that they break out and become contenders in the Western Conference. They have all the parts: An emerging superstar in Kevin Love, a young flashy point guard in Ricky Rubio, and a variety of role players to fill out a successful team. But Wednesday, Kevin Love broke his hand and will now be out 6-8 weeks. This isn’t crippling for their season, but starting the year with your best player out makes it harder to jump out to a win streak or a solid record. Last year, the Wolves were surging before they lost Ricky Rubio for the year. It goes to show you that no matter how good you are on paper, one wrong move on the court, and an entire season can go up in smoke. We’ll see how they react to this injury.
And finally, amid all the NFL action, college football BCS race, and NBA pre-season, it’s important not to forget that we’re right in the thick of the WNBA finals. This year, it’s between the Minnesota Lynx and Indiana Fever. The Fever won the first bout, but the Lynx looked very tough in Game 2. Even though the Fever got 27 points from their star Tamika Catchings, it was Seimone Augustus’ amazing 23 point second half that helped the Lynx take the game and even the series with the Fever. Even if you’re too occupied with all the other sports right now, know that tuning into the WNBA Finals on ESPN is women’s athleticism at its finest. Minnesota 66, Indiana 57.No comments
Alex Rodriguez has been playing pretty badly as of late. So much so that Yankees manager Joe Girardi decided to bench him in Tuesday night’s game. Alex Rodriguez’s good friend, Kobe Bryant (another alpha personality), gave him some advice. They met on the set of a commercial and hit it off. Kobe called Alex and reminded him that Alex is the best in the game right now. Kobe said that he thinks sometimes A-Rod forgets this, whereas Kobe, in his own words, does not. Kobe said that Alex is always trying to do the right thing and be nice, but Kobe emphatically told A-Rod that all he can control is how well he does, and that sometimes A-Rod just has to shake things off, put his head down, and “do it”.
So Game 3 of the American League Championship Series between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees took place Tuesday night. The Yankees barely got past the Baltimore Orioles, and they have been hitting quite poorly against the Tigers. Now the series was back in Detroit with Justin Verlander on the mound. That’s no easy feat. Verlander was dominant as always, but the game would still come down to the wire. Could the Yanks get another solid home run from Raul Ibanez. Nope, Tigers reliever Phil Coke struck him out and gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the series. They’re just one game away from the World Series. Detroit 2, NY Yankees 1.
The United States is on a quest to get back to the World Cup. For those that don’t know, even making the World Cup is extremely challenging. Everyone just ‘expects’ that the U.S. will be there come World Cup time and give fans something to root for. But what they don’t see are all the qualifying match-ups. Yesterday, the U.S. had a very tough match-up against a pesky Guatemala team. Fortunately, the U.S. has Clint Dempsey, who scored two goals in the game, and helped the US advance. They’re still not officially in yet, but they survived another day and are one step closer to their mission of getting back to the World Cup and redeeming themselves. USA 3, Guatemala 1.2 comments